When an encounter card with the surge keyword is revealed during the staging step of the quest phase or in setup, reveal 1 additional card from the encounter deck. Resolve the surge keyword immediately after resolving any when revealed effects on the card.
Time X is a keyword that represents the urgency of the heroes' quest. When a card with the Time X keyword is revealed, the players put X resource tokens on that card. These tokens are called "time counters." At the end of each refresh phase, remove 1 time counter from each card with the Time X keyword, if able. When the last time counter is removed, there will be a triggered effect that resolves on that card. Some encounter cards will also remove time counters, making it more difficult for the players to predict when they will run out of time.
To simulate the experience of getting lost in an endless, shifting swamp, each stage 2B has the text:
" Forced : After the last time counter is removed from this stage, advance to a different stage 2A at random."
When the players are instructed to do this, the first player shuffles each stage 2 (except for the one currently in play) together and chooses one of them at random for the players to advance to, replacing the current stage 2. Then, the previous stage 2 is placed back in the quest deck with the other unused stage 2 cards. Any progress that was on that stage is lost. When the players are instructed to advance to a different random stage 3A, follow the same steps
To play normal mode, just follow the setup instructions on the quest card.
When you play normal mode (or easy mode of course) and if you're new to the game, you can also play the "Basic Game" defined in the core set rules:
Newer players or players who want a more basic experience can play and enjoy the game by not dealing shadow cards during the combat phase. This eliminates an element of surprise that could make the game too challenging for a beginner. Once players are comfortable with this experience, they can then add the shadow effects to make combat less predictable and more exciting.